FramingBefore everything else, it is important to learn how to create frames. When you decide to photograph a moment, the first and foremost is to divide the frame into nine rectangular sections. While the rule of thirds is a more complicated but effective option, a simple 3x3 grid should suffice for amateurs. Once done, try placing the primary subject of photography on one of the two vertical axes of the grid, therefore getting enough room in a frame to create a discernible foreground, midground and background.
Once this is established, try to keep the area around your subject relatively empty, so as to maintain focus. Towards the edges of the frame, try to have some available blank space, which would give what is known as ‘breathing rooms’ to your photograph. Lastly, if you have flowing objects in the frame, try placing your subject in a way that the lines of the flow lead towards the subject.
LightingOnce you establish these framing basics, note how harsh and soft light can play with your frame. If you want to achieve a more objective, taut or responsive atmosphere in your frame, having sharp, direct lighting is the way to go. However, use soft and indirect lighting for photos where the mood is contemplative. If shooting outdoors, the natural light to your benefit by placing your subject in angles.
You can also play with shadows here. Deeper and more frequent shadows in the fore and midground can often portray a more ominous mood, while soft background shadows are excellent for portraits in general.
Photography SettingsA key part of learning photography is by rehearsing settings, so it’s important for you to learn it too in order to fully understand a camera. First, adjusting the f-stop or the aperture (the opening of the camera’s iris, denoted as ‘f/x’) also adjusts the depth of a photograph’s background, i.e. how soft or in-focus will the background be. Complement this with shutter speed, where slower numbers will cause mushier colours and edges – this is something you can use artistically once you are well versed with photography basics. Lastly, increase ISO numbers when shooting in darker conditions to give yourself some headroom in terms of lighting, and for beginners, it is best to leave the white balance in auto.
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